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Will government shutdown affect food stamps, banks?

When Bubba Heinz got online to check his EBT and food stamp status, a warning popped up about potential impacts of the government shutdown.

Posted: Jan 16, 2019 5:45 PM

LITTLE FALLS, N.Y. -- When Bubba Heinz got online to check his EBT and food stamp status, a warning popped up about potential impacts of the government shutdown.

"I'm on disability and stuff, and, it's gonna be hard on me," said Heinz. "When it starts kickin' in, there's gonna be a lot of people that's fighting for food."

Wednesday afternoon, the Little Falls Food Pantry, which Heinz uses, posted a flyer on their wall, about potential impact of the shutdown.

"They are going to be receiving their benefits early, in January, for the February month. It's not gonna be a bonus, it'll just be their February receipts," says Little Falls Food Pantry Coordinator, Sue Tucker. "We're looking at, perhaps, an influx of people that are really gonna be hurting."

The influx has already started at the Utica Food Bank.

"We had anywhere from 100 to 150 people actually here on Monday itself. Our hours are from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and literally up until the last minute, just had everybody coming in, signing in for food," said Site Director Aaron Johnson-Hicks. "They were stressed a little bit about their SNAP benefits, and I did have to explain to them."

The Utica Food Bank says they saw this coming.

"If anyone is affected by the government shutdown, we're ready, willing and able to help them," said Utica Food Bank President Russell Brooks.

Brooks stresses, however, that when all the garland, bulbs and holiday lights are packed away, with them, go the frequent holiday donations.

"Thanksgiving, Christmas, people were walking in every day with donations, sending us checks, giving us food donations," said Brooks. "The donations, they dry up."

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